Our Food, Our Future: Interns and Innovators

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October 28, 2021

For National Farm to School Month this year, we are amplifying the visions, voices and leadership of young people who are forging the way forward for a more just future - in our food system and wider communities. 

Tylon Jones of Teens Grow Greens, a Milwaukee-based youth development organization, is a leader, innovator, and advocate and was interviewed by Sophia Rodriguez, National Farm to School Network's Communications Intern, in Our Food, Our Future: Interns and Innovators. As a natural orator and inspiring presence, Tylon serves as a shining example of the power of youth leadership, and he shares his experience as an entrepreneur and intern in his community and in our food system.

Entering into the interview, he offers a call to action and imparts this wisdom:

“Our environmental reality is being heavily affected by our choices and these issues will only increase with time. It’s time we connect with our environment and make a difference.“

In our interview, Tylon shares tangible ways we can make a difference. He offers how he and other young people stay positive by finding inspiration everywhere - even in the most unconventional people and places. Sharing that young people need a platform to elevate their voices and the listening ears of those in power, he urges the importance of increasing representation of youth and BIPOC leaders, expanding opportunities for youth influence, and acknowledging the efforts of grassroots movements.

Watch this powerful interview here, and learn more about Teens Grow Greens (TGG) and our Q&A with a TGG mentor, Mikaela Dupont.

The Next Generation: October Coffee Chat

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October 28, 2021

We had a coffee chat conversation with Krystal Oriadha, our Senior Director of Programs & Policy, Derriontae Trent, Market Coordinator of the Sweet Sol Hot Sauce Cooperative, and Taurean Dixon, Administration of the Sweet Sol Hot Sauce Cooperative, that shed light on the next generation of Black farmers and current issues with land ownership. Derriontae and Taurean are members of The Come Up Project’s Gangstas to Growers program in Atlanta, GA, which provides paid entrepreneurial internships for at-promise youth and formerly incarcerated individuals, to offer them a chance to participate in the legitimate economy.

In this energizing session, Derriontae introduces the value of maintaining equity in the workplace when striving to make change in one’s community. Highlighting how Gangstas to Growers was created by their community for their community, he stresses the need for opportunities for young people to achieve their dreams and to have agency in their futures - especially in urban spaces threatened by gentrification. Speaking to their experiences of being young, Black entrepreneurs, Taurean touches on how every day is a learning process. He encourages finding value in hard work, researching opportunities, and connecting with others. 

Working with over 100 Black-owned farms, Derriontae and Taurean find pride in their work, in their city, and in their stories of success. To hear more about the power of dedicated community members working together to change lives and make food, watch here

Special thanks to National Co+Op Grocers (https://www.ncg.coop/) and Farm Credit (https://farmcredit.com/) for their support of National Farm to School Network, which helps make this Coffee Chat series possible.

Farm to School Month 2021: Our Food, Our Future

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October 7, 2021

Our Food, Our Future National Farm to School Month 2021 logo

October is National Farm to School Month, an annual 31-day campaign to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the connections happening across the country between kids, families and their community food systems. National Farm to School Month was designated by Congress in 2010, making this year’s campaign the 11th anniversary of National Farm to School Month celebrations. 

This year, our theme is “Our Food, Our Future: Youth Leadership for a Racially Just Food System.” Youth and young people (which we define as anyone under the age of 21, including children in early care and education (ECE) settings, K-12 students, and young adults) are the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow and today. As we continues our work of shifting power to cultivate a racially just food system, we strive to elevate and amplify the visions, stories, and dreams of the young people who are at the heart of why we do farm to school. Their fresh perspectives, clear-eyed optimism, and commitments to justice must be heard and celebrated. We want to know: what are their hopes and ideas for the future of our food system? What does food justice mean to them? And how can we support their leadership in moving these visions into reality? That’s why this year for National Farm to School Month, our activities are centered on amplifying youth leadership around six community values – economic and environmental justice, health, racial equity, workers’ rights, and animal welfare – for a racially just food system. 

Here's are 5 easy ways you can join us this October:

(1)  Amplify Youth Voices & Leadership: Throughout October, we’ll be amplifying the visions, voices and leadership of young people across the country who are forging the way forward for a more just future – in our food system and wider communities. Check out our blog, social media channels, and e-newsletters to hear their stories throughout October. 

(2) Participate in our Virtual Movement Meeting, October 14: Join National Farm to School Network for a virtual Movement Meeting on Thursday, Oct.14 from 1-2:30pm ET, featuring young leaders of color working to transform their community, for deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on how the next generation is working to intersect the food movement with racial justice, environmental justice, economic justice, and other key justice-centered movements. Register here: https://bit.ly/MovementMeeting-NFSN 

(3) Get Involved Locally: Explore our national calendar of Farm to School Month events to see how you can celebrate locally.

(4) Spread the Word: Shout out about farm to school and share what you’re doing for National Farm to School Month with the hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool on social media. Follow the National Farm to School Network on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Download our Sharing Toolkit for sample messages and graphics to share with your community.

(5) Donate to Support Our Work: Invest in the future of farm to school! Donate to the National Farm to School Network and support our work to shift power in communities through farm to school activities in order to cultivate a raciall just food system. 

Find more action ideas, resources and printable National Farm to School Month materials here.

Special thanks to Farm Credit, National Co+op Grocers, and Mushrooms in Schools for sponsoring our 2021 National Farm to School Month campaign!

Happy National Farm to School Month!